Three senior St John Ambulance staff depart

The first-aid charity has recently completed a major restructure and plans to reduce a £7.5m deficit

St John Ambulance
St John Ambulance

Three members of the senior management team at St John Ambulance have either left the first-aid charity or are due to leave by the summer.

George Ruiz, its head of strategy, left in February to become director of finance at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. The position has been filled by Alison Stevens, who was in another role at the charity.

Fiona Healey-Hutchinson, the head of fundraising, will leave this month to join Canine Partners, and Scott Jacobson, director of communications, will leave in July.

A source close to the charity who did not wish to be named claimed that the departure of Jacobson and Healey-Hutchinson was connected to disagreements between the charity’s management team and a group of senior volunteers from Chapter, a stakeholder body of 80 members that advises the trustees of the Priory of England and The Islands of The Order of St John, the parent charity of St John Ambulance.

A spokeswoman for the charity said it was "a bit puzzled" by the claim and said there was a relatively low staff turnover, particularly within the senior management team. "We can’t really speak on behalf of the people who are leaving or who have left, but they are generally going on to promotions and have been with the organisation for a number of years," she said.

She said Chapter was an advisory body that had no senior management role with St John Ambulance. "It is made up of people who reflect the membership," she said. "It is being reduced in June from 80 to 50 members to reflect the changes in our structure and to be more representative."

The charity has recently carried out a restructure in an attempt to reduce costs and become more effective, moving from a county-based structure of 41 semi-autonomous offices to a system of eight regional divisions.

It had a deficit of £7.5m in 2012, but hopes to reduce this to £4.5m in 2013, with a view to breaking even in the next few years. The spokeswoman said the changes were being made so it could focus more on first aid and working in the community and schools to deliver training.

Changes are also being made at its national headquarters to help the charity roll out and coordinate national first-aid programmes.

"Chapter is an advisory body which has no senior management role, a spokeswoman for the charity said. " It’s and it is made up of people who reflect the membership and is being reduced in June from 80 to 50 members to reflect the changes in our structure and be more representative."

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